Gov’t PR: Contingency plans set for Guimaras oil recovery operations

March 7, 2007

ILOILO CITY (7 March) – Chances of accidental oil spill during the recovery operation of oil from the MT Solar I are remote, said Presidential Adviser for Western Visayas Rafael Coscolluela at the recent press briefing held at Camp Delgado, PNP VI Regional Office in Iloilo City.

PA Coscolluela said that both the Philippine Coast Guard and the Sonsub, an Italian firm hired to undertake the oil recovery operation, have their own respective contingency plans prepared in order to effectively address any oil leakage.

Sonsub, specializing in deepwater operations, was contracted by the Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Club, insurer of the Solar I to retrieve any remaining oil on Solar I which sank in 640 meters of water in Guimaras.

Project Director Robin Galleti of Sonsub said that during the operation, they will be using latest technologies including the 80 meter-long dynamic positioning vessel Allied Shield that will use thrusters to keep it in position over Solar I at all times. Two Remotely Operated Vehicles will be deployed to assist in drilling two holes in each tank. Water will be allowed to flow into one hole to displace any remaining oil which would flow from the second hole. Both holes will have fail-safe valves. A shuttle container will be placed on top of the valve to capture the oil. The container will then be brought to 30 meters under the surface where submersible pumps will transfer the oil to ISO tanks on the Allied Shield.

Galleti assured that several measures are in place to ensure a fail-safe operation. “We have contingency plans in place to cover the unlikely event of any oil release,” he said.

The contingency plans include oil spill response tugboats that will be deployed for the duration of the retrieval operations. These boats are equipped with oil dispersants, oil skimmers for the mechanical recovery of oil and spill booms for containment. One aircraft, which has airborn dispersant capability, will continuously be monitoring the area, Galleti concluded.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on the other hand said that during the retrieval operations, they will set a one-kilometer exclusion zone.

PCG Deputy Commander for Western Visayas, Eduardo Fabricante said that they will alert all shipping companies, and fishing vehicle operators regarding the exclusion zone; deploy PCG vessels with big oil spill booms and PCG vessels which will secure the area during the retrieval operations. (Philippine Information Agency)


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